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Bal Mussette des Quatre Saisons, Rue de Lappe, Paris
This photograph is one of many that Brassaï took in bals musette along the rue de Lappe of the Roquette district of Paris. In the 19th century, scrap metal was collected along this short street on the city's edge. The neighborhood was a cheap place for newcomers from Brittany to settle. To accommodate them, simple shops sold both wine and heating fuel, advertised by signs announcing Vins et charbons (wine and coal). These coal-cafés grew into gathering places where traditional music was performed on a Breton bagpipe called the musette. When new waves of migrants arrived from the Auvergne, the musette was gradually replaced by the diatonic accordion, and patrons danced the bourrée, the waltz and the Parisian java. Bals musette took over the rue de Lappe. Each had its own distinctive clientele, but their decor was similar, with red patent-leather banquettes lining the walls, behind tables bolted down so they could not be thrown. Dim light was cast from hanging globes, often festooned with paper streamers, and mirrors lining the walls made small rooms seem larger.
from Acton, A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame: Twentieth Century (Notre Dame, 2019)